The Department of African & African American Studies (DAAAS) Honors Program

The Department of African & African American Studies honors program provides qualified DAAAS majors with the opportunity to pursue original research in their areas of interest pertaining to Black Studies during their senior year. Students are expected to produce a paper of the highest quality reflecting three quarters of sustained effort and engagement. Over the course of their senior year, students will develop effective research skills and the ability to critically analyze data. Students will also learn how to construct persuasive arguments and to communicate their new insights with attention to both clarity and nuance, culminating in a 40-60 page honors thesis. 

To participate in the DAAAS honors program, students must average a minimum 3.5 overall GPA average. The final honors or creative honors thesis must receive a grade of an “A” in order for students to earn the honors distinction in the Department of African & African American Studies. Students must also prepare and deliver a conference-style presentation of their work during the DAAAS Senior Presentations during the Spring quarter of their senior year.  

DAAAS majors participating in the honors program must enroll in 5 units of AFRICAAM 200X (the DAAAS Capstone course, which is also a WIM course) in the Autumn, 5 units of AFRICAAM 200Y in the Winter, and 5 units of AFRICAAM 200Z in the Spring. Please note that the DAAAS honors program courses (AFRICAAM 200Y and AFRICAAM 200Z) do not count toward students’ overall units required for the DAAAS major. 

The DAAAS Capstone course and two honors courses provide students with a community of peers conducting scholarly research with support from Dr. Katie Dieter (Director of Advanced Studies and Community Engaged Learning), faculty advisors, workshop leaders, and other units on campus like the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking, as they work on their honors and creative honors theses. 

DAAAS Honors Thesis Application

Application form must contain the following items:

  • A two-three page thesis proposal (see below)
  • A writing sample from an African & African American Studies course
  • A brief letter or email from one faculty member who has agreed to serve as your honors thesis advisor
  • A letter or email confirming one person to serve as your second reader
  • An unofficial transcript (a cumulative overall 3.5 GPA is required)

DAAAS majors must apply to participate in the honors program during their junior year by the first Monday in May by 5pm. Students’ faculty advisors must be an Academic Council DAAAS faculty member or faculty affiliate of DAAAS. Students second readers can be Academic Council faculty members or any member of Stanford’s academic staff. 


Click the button below to fill out the DAAAS Honors Thesis application by the first Monday in May of your Junior year.

Honors Program Application Form

Honors Thesis Proposal

This 2-3 page honors thesis proposal should be a concise and well-structured document that outlines the key elements of your proposed research project in the field of African & African American Studies. The proposal should begin with a clear and compelling introduction that introduces the research question or topic, providing context for its significance within the field of African and African American Studies. The proposal should articulate the specific aims and objectives of the research and should include a brief literature review highlighting key works in the field that showcase the existing scholarship relevant to your proposed topic. The methodology section should outline your proposed research methods and theoretical frameworks. 

The proposal should articulate the potential contributions of the research to the field of Black Studies and the broader community. Students are encouraged to apply their language study and community engaged learning experiences into their honors thesis research. Finally, a well-constructed timeline and a preliminary bibliography should be included to demonstrate the feasibility and scope of the project within the given timeframe. Students applying for the creative honors thesis should also include a detailed description of their creative project and how it directly relates to their written honors thesis. 

For additional inquiries about the honors thesis application, please contact Dr. Katie Dieter, Director of Advanced Studies and Community Engaged Learning in African & African American Studies via email at kdieter [at] (kdieter[at]stanford[dot]edu).  

The Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA) Creative Honors Thesis

The Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA) Creative Honors Thesis offers students the opportunity to combine their honors thesis research with a creative project. Students must complete the DAAAS honors requirements above, in addition to 25 units in IDA-approved courses. 

The creative honors theses consist of two parts: A creative component and a written rationale known as the Critical Statement of Artistic Intent. To complete a creative honors thesis, students must be prepared to develop and execute a creative project that will be both time consuming and thorough. Creative honors thesis students meet regularly with IDA as a cohort during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters of their senior year in close coordination with DAAAS. Previous examples of creative honors thesis projects include, but are not limited to, films, visual art exhibitions, stage productions, music albums, and a fiction or creative non-fiction piece.

Find more information on the IDA Website and on the Guidelines Page.

Bing Honors College

Students in African & African American Studies who are approved to write an honors thesis are highly encouraged to participate in Bing Honors College (BHC) in the weeks preceding Autumn quarter of their senior year. 

Bing Honors College (BHC) is a two-week, fully funded program for students actively engaged in researching and drafting their honors theses. Since its inception in 1993, BHC has pursued the goal of accelerating progress on honors theses by offering students an uninterrupted block of time during which to focus on their work before the start of Autumn classes; providing the close supervision of a Faculty Leader; and fostering a sense of intellectual community among students within and across academic disciplines.

If you have been approved by the DAAAS to write an honors or creative honors thesis and are interested in participating in this research development opportunity, please apply to BHC on the Bing Honors College website

Previous Honors Theses in African & African American Studies

Additional Information for Honors Thesis Writers

Learn how to gain approval for different kinds of research:

·      Stanford’s Institutional Review Board

·      Stanford Research Compliance Office—Human Subjects (IRB)

Stanford Undergraduate Research and Independent Projects:

·      Major Grant Timeline & Application Information